If I Knew Then Advice on careers, finance, and life from Harvard Business School's Class of 1963

John T. “Jack” Corrodi Jr.

Marriage & Family

Don’t rush into getting married. At age 35, I knew better where I was headed and whom I wanted to be with.

We were shocked at not being able to get pregnant. Never mind. Adoption of newborns turned out to be delightful. (We did it 16 times.)

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Turning Points

In 1972, I was driving down the street with my wife in the passenger seat. Suddenly, a 10-year-old boy on a bicycle darted right in front of me. He was in a coma for six months and then died. His family sued me for $25 million. My insurance company settled the case for $200,000. I felt so awful, this event motivated my wife and me to adopt 16 newborns.

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Leadership

A successful leader maintains an image at all times. People are following you, and you need to always be out in front for them.

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Growing Older

In college I was active in sports, but out in the business world, no one plays football anymore.

You must move exercise and healthy eating into the number-one position. Otherwise, you will be fighting diabetes and heart disease.

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Charity & Spirituality

Faith became my biggest concern in life. At HBS, I dated a Mount Holyoke grad-turned-schoolteacher named Susan Heineman. She dragged me to Catholic mass every Sunday. I was a lukewarm Presbyterian, but became very interested in Catholicism. Returning to California, I enrolled in inquiry classes at St. Paul the Apostle church in Westwood. I was baptized and for years attended daily mass. It was great direction for me and for my wife.

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